Idiopathic cutaneous and renal glomerular vasculopathy (CRGV), also known as Alabama Rot or Greenetrack Disease , was first described in America in the 1980s. It was initially thought to only affect grey-hounds but has since been reported in other breeds. Dogs presented with kidney injury and/or skin lesions; the aetiology remains unknown.

A small number of cases of this ‘mysterious’ disease have been reported in the UK. Indeed a disease resembling Alabama Rot was reported in dogs in the New Forest area between December 2012 and March 2013 (and has since been referred to as New Forest Syndrome). Since then other cases have been reported in Surrey, Cornwall, Worcestershire and County Durham. However there is insufficient information to determine if dogs in the UK have indeed developed CRGV, although the signs are similar.

Affected dogs typically present with a single or multiple skin lesions which begin as slow healing ulcers, usually 1-4 cm in length. They are generally seen on the distal limb although lesions have also been seen on the face and ventrum. Initially asymptomatic, affected dogs go on to develop clinical signs of acute kidney injury over the next 2-7 days with vomiting, depression, polyuria, polydipsia and raised urea and creatinine.

There is no specific treatement for CRGV, however the recent case of Alba, an 11-month-old labrador has brought to light the possibility of an effective treatment for the condition. Indeed Alba is the first dog to survive the illness after being treated at the Queen Mother Animal Hospital by plasmapheresis, a pioneering treatment that pumps blood through a dialysis machine which then filters out any pathogens.

Below is a link to a short clip from BBC2’s series Young Vets, featuring Alba’s case.

Further information: the Anderson Moores website has news updates and information sheets for owners and vets on this illness. Click here to view them.